District Feasibility/Potential

It seems almost certain that eventually FIRST will evolve into practically everywhere using the District Model or something similar so how do you think it would work in your State/Province/Region/Country? Would you include other areas other then the obvious? Is it feasible now? If not how long do you think it would take for it to be?

So I will start with Florida:
Florida has 76 teams over 53,926.82 square miles meaning we have one team for every 709 square miles (Compared to Michigan prior to 2009 had one FRC team per 604 square miles). So according to basic math we aren’t that far behind population density wise.

So If we were to have 5 District Events, Plus Championship (Same as MAR in 2012) I think they would be located in:

Miami (A large city with many teams already, and still more could develop)

Orlando (Home of the original Florida Regional, and also a lot of teams in the area)

Palm Beach County (Yes this is where my team is from but it makes sence with the selection of Miami for a district that keeping a district in Ft. Lauderdale would make them to close together, plus the 13th largest school district in the United States only has 4 teams and that is sad)

Tampa (Another largely populated area with many teams)

Tallahassee (My shot in the dark for a northern Florida district due to a lack of teams North of Ocala, Jacksonville may work better but I was trying to put another district on the west side of Florida)

Then Championship would be held in Orlando at either the UCF Arena or Orange County Convention Center
(Attached is a map of the state with the location of each team and a black x for the districts)

Other Areas to include:
I feel we would include Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in our district if they would like.

**Feasibility **

It is not feasible right now but I think once we reach 90 or so teams we could do it but we don’t even have enough teams to fill up the two regionals we have now but, with current growth we might have Florida District by 2015/16

I think it would be better to wait till like 150 teams and have 10 districts(2 per week with one “week off” or 2 weeks with only one district) and a FSC. You could do: Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, Melbourne, Boca Raton, Tallahassee, Orlando, Gainesville/Ocala, Fort Lauderdale and Daytona. That would be 3 in North Florida, 3 in South Florida, and 4 in Central Florida; then you would have the FSC in the UCF Arena or OCCC or Amway Arena.

I personally would prefer the UCF Arena because its tradition, perfect setting, perfect size, and you know what you get at UCF. OCCC would be weird because its a convention center only and it would be entirely bleacher seating. I dont know about the entire size of the Amway Arena(where the Orlando magic and Orlando Predators play) to know if it could fit 60-70 teams and pits. I think this could possibly happen closer to the year 2020 but maybe a little earlier around 2017-2018.

The thought of 10 events in a state that seems barely able to muster enough volunteers for 2 regionals is exhausting to me. People don’t seem to understand one of the big issues with districts is mustering enough volunteers to staff the events.

Thats because you are thinking about 10 events off the knowledge of volunteer availability now. In 6-7 years and around 2x the number of teams, I could easily see enough people to run 10 districts.

And you don’t need as many volunteers for a district event as you do for a regional.


Let me go ahead and say that with 49 times, a district model is no where close to being sustainable in GA. So I’ll leave this here.

Other Areas to include: South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama

We could join with the states above.

Now, this is interesting because one could potentially picture a region here, especially since it tends to get a little crowded with 177 teams shared between the five states.

However, these states are already positioned like districts. GA, SC, NC, and TN already have regionals, with AL planning one, and word out there is that GA might pick up a second regional.

Additionally, it’s about a 4-6 hour drive to anywhere suitable from the middle of the region (northern GA).

**Feasibility **

Taking all that together, the southeastern region isn’t very region friendly.

However, I think it would be interesting to take the region in its current state and transform it into a regional. Essentially all the regionals in GA, SC, NC, TN, and AL get turned into large district events.

At the very least, it might even interesting to see if the GA, SC, NC, TN, and AL regionals would lock out teams not from their region. This would give local teams priority if they want to compete, and give it a district-esque feeling.

  • Sunny G.

Let’s break down the positions:

Judges - still need a full complement
Inspectors - same number
Refs - Same
Field Reset - Same
Queuers - Same
Misc Crowd Control - Same

So, what positions don’t we need?

You need the same # of inspectors for 35-40 teams as you do for 60-65? And isnt querers like only 2-4 people?(not including the admin desk people)

Give me your estimate of what it would take to run 2 districts; volunteer # wise.

Regionals give you a full day to inspect all the teams. Districts substantially less. And, given that many of the teams in Florida have had me rebuilding their robots late into Friday…

These are the numbers Rich Sisk and I worked up to see how big FiM would have to be for every school district in Michigan to have a team. This was done in 2010 but the core part is still the same. (Spoiler, it gets ridiculous)

It takes 6 inspectors per event.

It takes 1 head ref, 1 LRI, 1 FTA, and 1 Judge Coordinator per event.

It takes 20-25 Judges per event. (This number cannot be reduced substantially without drastically reducing quality of judging)

It takes between 4 and 6 refs

I don’t have solid numbers for queuers or pit staff, nor did I include the 2 scorekeepers, the various AV folks… and I’m fairly certain I’m forgetting some group. So, let’s assume somewhere north of 60 people per event.

According to this http://www.midatlanticrobotics.com/board-of-directors-meeting-%E2%80%93-june-3-2013/ MAR had around 400 volunteers in 2013 for its seven events. That’s about 57 volunteers per event. However, many volunteers go to multiple events. So the real number is probably much higher.

Even with 400 people some MAR events were really struggling for volunteers. TCNJ only had about 3 inspectors and was running pretty late because of it. They got a scorekeeper only a week or two before the event.

You need a lot of volunteers to run districts.

As I understood it, the volunteer issue was one the reason Texas hasn’t gone district, yet. (and geography.)

Volunteers are also what is stopping Minnesota

So it sounds like volunteers are a real issue for regions switching to districts.

What are some ways FiM and MAR have solved this?

What are PNW and NE doing to solve this issue?

Should teams for multiple areas be taking this on as an issue to find a solution with their local Volunteer Coordinator?

Good food and free t-shirts. :wink: Teams are supposed to supply 2 volunteers; sometimes college alumni are good for this. There’s also been quite a few off-seasons up here* even before districts, which helps keep people engaged. 1640 alone has volunteer(s) for at least: Monty Madness, MidKnight Mayhem, girlPOWER, Duel on the Delaware, Brunswick Eruption and Ramp Riot, plus Battle 'o Baltimore (MD) and Lewis Blitz (NY).

But in all honesty, a good part of the reason FiM and MAR were the first to transition was because we had strong volunteer bases. If we’re taxing bases this size, I don’t envy regions that self-classify as having a small volunteer base.

*It’s interesting, MAR has 5 off-seasons in like 35K mi² (NJ+DE+.5PA): by my reckoning the highest in the world. NE is 2nd with 6 in 72K; PNW is 3 in 170K. You can actually see their “bubbles” on the calendar:
NH: Merrimack, Rage
MA: MSHSL, Beantown
CT: Wolcott
NY: Ruckus, Lewis
PA: girlPOWER, Riot
NJ: Monty, MidKnight, Brunswick <<I think only MN has more, and it’s 10x the size (albeit 3.5M fewer people)
VA: Rumble
FL: Panther
LA: Stick
TX: Roundup, reMix
AR: Ozark
MO: Cow Town
IL: River
IN: Champs, IRI
OH: Connect
MN: Detroit, Invt’l, Rendezvous, Champs
OR: Seattle, Generation, Rollout
CA: CalGames, Classic
Aust: DDU

Florida has more than the Panther Prowl; I believe there are a few down south. And Florida also has a few pre-season events.

What other events are there?

To run Beantown Blitz (a 1 day off-season event with ~40 teams) we pull in 55-60 volunteers. This does not include personnel like safety advisors, inspectors or a the full gambit of judges (we use a smaller staff of 10-12 for our 1 day event).

A volunteer staff for a district event is not all that different from a regional staff. In fact, the reason Beantown needs so many volunteers is that we are running many aspects that are often ‘venue-handled’ at a regional (concession stands, security, parking, facilities, etc). This is a very important aspect to consider as well.


I dont remember the names but 1251 hosts(might be hosted) one and so does(might be did) 179.

I was doing the math on it earlier, and that’s on the low end of what I was figuring for a regional. Replace your concession, parking, facilities, and possibly security people with inspectors and enough judges to make up a full complement, come out about even. Maybe a couple of other folks.

I then figured that about half of those would return if the second district was close enough, and guesstimated about 90-100 individual volunteers for 2 district events.

Fall Classic (1 day, 20 or so teams) pulled 15-20 volunteers or so (not counting concessions and facility staff) to run the event, and that many again for both setup and teardown. 45 people total, with about 5-10 doing setup, teardown, and the event in between, over a day and an evening. (Last year’s numbers, BTW, off the top of my head, give or take a fudge factor of 5 in any given section of the event).

Don’t forget Madtown Throwdown and Powerhouse Pwnage! There might be one other I’m forgetting too.